Sale 19889
The Sleep of Reason: Francisco Goya’s Los Caprichos
Online 8 - 23 October 2020
Literature

Delteil 39; Harris 37

‘The etchings of Goya’s Caprichos culminate a decade in which social issues such as women’s rights, prostitution, and the indolence of certain nobles were addressed in both the periodical press and the theater. They offer a critique of social crimes against the ideal order as conceived by enlightened reformers, in which social responsibility and reason governed behavior, and love governed the relations of couples...(One of the) violations of the natural order addressed in these etchings is the practice of marriages arranged for reasons other than love. They Say Yes and Give Their Hand to the First Who Comes is given pride of place within the published series as plate 2, immediately following the artist's frontispiece self-portrait. The action revolves around a young woman who has abandoned her basquiña [a type of traditional skirt] and mantilla for a white Empire gown, following the French fashion that swept Spain in the late 1790s. Standing in profile, steady and undeterred, she looks straight ahead as she extends her left hand to an old man waiting behind her...(to the right is a) motley crowd jaded by yet another marriage that defies the natural order: a marriage without love, between a couple who are of widely different ages...What motivates this bride? The eagerness of her attendants - possibly her family - implies that money and perhaps social status are to be gained. But the title...suggests also that the satisfied bride has now guaranteed herself the liberty to conduct her life as she wishes.'

Stepanek, S.L., Tomlinson, J., Wilson-Bareau, J., Mena Marqués, M.B., et al, Goya: Order & Disorder, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 2014, p. 136.

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